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NIEER's weekly newsletter for the latest in early education news

NIEER Weekly

Volume 17, Issue 10


March 9, 2018

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: Early Ed Workforce, New Cost Calculator and Inheriting Prejudice

Hot Topics

Reinventing the Wheel

Recent reports by the Learning Policy Institute focus on the challenges of improving preschool quality and expanding access for California’s one million young children—and recommend looking to New Jersey for solutions.

California public pre-K met six of 10 quality standards benchmarks and enrolled about 35 percent of the state’s 4-year-olds and less than 10 percent of 3-year-olds, according to The State of Preschool 2016.

LPI’s Building an Early Learning System that Works: Next Steps for California report makes recommendations for improving access to high-quality ECE for California’s children, specifically building a well-qualified early education workforce.

“Although California’s context may differ, policymakers and advocates committed to providing every child with a high-quality early care and education (ECE) program could learn a lot from New Jersey’s example,” the report states.

Research shows interactions with teachers are key to child outcomes. Twenty years ago, a New Jersey Supreme Court decision prompted the state to take dramatic steps to enhance the quality of its ECE workforce.

New Jersey’s “Abbott” preschool program was among remedies ordered by the court in response to the Abbott v. Burke lawsuit challenging the state’s failure to provide resources adequate to give children in high-poverty urban districts a “thorough and efficient” education as mandated by the state constitution.

To provide the high-quality learning opportunities these children needed to close the achievement gap with more advantaged peers, New Jersey focused on enhancing teacher quality by:

  • Providing scholarships and substitutes to enable teachers to obtain higher levels of education and training
  • Requiring ongoing professional development to continue to raise quality
  • Increasing compensation to match pay for public school teachers

Compensation can be a significant hurdle to retaining the qualified teachers needed to provide children high-quality early learning opportunities.

An analysis by NIEER focused on teachers in public pre-K programs found pre-K teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher can expect to earn $10,000–$13,000 less per year than colleagues teaching slightly older children, even if they work in the same building.

“Investing in the quality of pre-k in New Jersey has paid off,” the LPI report states, noting improved achievement and reduced grade retention and special education placements for participating children. “These lasting benefits and significant cost savings are only possible, however, if a pre-k program is high quality.”

We invite you to follow NIEER on Twitter @PreschoolToday and Facebook at Preschool Today. Please share your social media handles so we can connect.


NEW on Preschool Matters Today

Improving State Early Childhood Teaching and Learning Policy: Reflections and Recommendations 

BUILD Initiative and the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes recently released A Learning Table to Improve State Early Childhood Teaching and Learning Policy: Reflections and Recommendations After Three Years of Implementation 

From 2014-2017, BUILD Initiative and CEELO co-facilitated several State Policy Learning Tables including representatives from at least three states to support state leaders in their efforts to strengthen policy focused on early childhood teaching and learning. Both BUILD Initiative and CEELO shared a mission to help policymakers create more effective state early learning systems.

Mariana Florit from BUILD Initiative sat down with Debi Mathias, Director, QRIS National Learning Network at BUILD Initiative and Lori Connors-Tadros, Ph.D., Senior Project Director at CEELO to find out how this Learning Table and the subsequent lessons learned can strengthen early childhood teaching and learning policy.


NIEER Activities

NIEER Senior Co-Director Ellen Frede Ph.D. will discuss the legacy and lessons of New Jersey’s groundbreaking Abbott preschool program during @MomsRising Twitter Chat at 2 pm ET Thursday March 15 #EarlyEdChat

The preschool program resulted from an order by the New Jersey Supreme Court in the Abbott v. Burke litigation, a case widely recognized as the most important in education since Brown v. Board of Education. Today this program has revolutionized the delivery of early education in the United States, offering invaluable lessons on improving education outcomes for vulnerable children.

NIEER also is co-sponsoring a conference March 14 celebrating the anniversary of Abbott by exploring the complex road to program implementation, best practices and ways to build on Abbott’s remarkable success. Register here for Abbott at 20: Building on Success.


CEELO Update

The Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) recently shared a redesigned Cost of Preschool Quality & Revenue calculator (CPQ&R)a free Excel-based tool to help you determine costs and funding sources related to implementing high-quality preschool programs. 
  
The redesigned CPQ&R is easier to use and adapt to user’s specific questions, with more ways to customize, compare alternatives and calculate both costs and funding optionsCPQ&R can help SEAs plan by providing reliable cost estimates and assessing current and future revenue needs. 

To learn how the CPQ&R can provide better data to inform policy and funding decisions, join our webinar, Financing Quality Preschool at 3 p.m. March 22, 2018. See “Calendar” for details. 


Resources

DEVELOPING HEALTHY FOOD PREFERENCES IN PRESCHOOL CHILDREN THROUGH TASTE EXPOSURE, SENSORY LEARNING, AND NUTRITION EDUCATION

In a review of the literature published in Current Obesity Reports, researchers summarize and evaluate recent research that investigates taste exposure, sensory learning, and nutrition education interventions that promote vegetable intake in preschool children. Reviewers report that while evidence from visual exposure and experiential learning also show some success, taste exposure interventions, overall, yielded the best outcomes for increasing vegetable intake in early childhood.

Researchers suggest that while nutrition education is often utilized in preschool settings, that more is needed to strengthen educational programs for increasing vegetable intake. Authors suggest that future research integrates taste exposure and sensory learning strategies with nutrition education within preschool curriculum.

MATERNAL READING FLUENCY IS POSITIVELY ASSOCIATED WITH GREATER FUNCTIONAL CONNECTIVITY BETWEEN THE CHILD’S FUTURE READING NETWORK AND REGIONS RELATED TO EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONS AND LANGUAGE PROCESSING IN PRESCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN

In a new study in the journal Brain and Cognition, researchers explored association of parental reading ability on the functional connectivity of brain networks involved with reading acquisition in their children based on data from four-year-old girls and their mothers. Researchers report a positive association between maternal fluency scores and greater functional connectivity between regions in the future reading network and brain regions supporting language and executive function in children.

Researchers discuss the importance of parent-child shared reading as well as implications for future research. They also offer an extended ecological model for child language and literacy development.

PRENATAL EXPOSURE TO AMBIENT TEMPERATURE VARIATION INCREASES THE RISK OF COMMON COLD IN CHILDREN

In a paper recently released in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, researchers investigated the relationship between prenatal exposure to daily temperature variation and the risk of the common cold—a viral infection of the nose and throat—based on data from a cohort study of 2,598 preschool children in China. They report an association between common cold in children and maternal changes in temperature exposure during pregnancy, particularly during the first trimester.

The risk was found to be higher in males and hyper-allergenic children. Also reported was a higher risk for children living in suburban areas, in both bigger houses and those exposed to environmental tobacco smoke, mold/dampness, new furniture, and redecoration. Authors suggest that the risk of the common cold may have its origins in pregnancy.

A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK: PARENTS’ SUBTLE ETHNIC PREJUDICE PREDICTS CHILDREN’S IMPLICIT PREJUDICE

In a recently published study in Frontiers in Psychology, researchers examined the intergenerational transmission of ethnic prejudice in three- to nine- year-old children and its relationship to parenting styles in the region of Rome, Italy. Researchers found that parents’ subtle prejudice predicted children’s implicit prejudice regardless of parenting style.

Study authors indicate that children may acquire prejudice through parents’ implicit cognition and automatic behavior and educational actions. Researchers discuss implications for future studies and provide suggestions for applied interventions.


Opportunities

The Policy Equity Group

The Policy Equity Group, a Washington D.C. consultancy working to build the capacity of socially conscious organizations that are dedicated to improving the lives of young children, is seeking a Policy and Research Assistant/Associate.

The successful candidate will have a background in policy research and analysis, a strong interest in early childhood development and education policy, and exceptional writing and oral communication skills. To apply, please send a cover letter, writing sample, and resume to Info@PolicyEquity.com. 


Calendar

Webinar: Financing Quality Preschool

Thursday
March 22, 2018
3 pm ET

To learn how the Cost of Preschool Quality & Revenue calculator can help generate better data to inform policy and funding decisions, join CEELO’s webinar featuring Steve Barnett, Senior Co-Director of NIEER. On the webinar:

  • Steve will discuss the major policy issues and trade-offs in projecting costs and raising revenue for high-quality preschool
  • CEELO will provide a virtual tour of the redesigned CPQ&R webpage
  • View a live demonstration of how to use the CPQ&R to answer questions related to projecting costs and revenue.

Register here


Early Education News Roundup

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

 


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